Now is a great time to introduce harmony to Y2. I do this through the song “Little Donkey”. First I teach the part of the song that goes ” Ring out those Bells tonight, Bethlehem, Bethlehem. Follow that star tonight, Bethlehem, Bethlehem”. I then put four children in the four corners of the room and give them four hand bells, high C, B, A and G. The children play CCCBAG then sing “Bethlehem, Bethlehem”. I explain this is a melody. I then put another child in each group with a harmony note. I explain when you put the sounds together you create harmony. I then put a third child in each group. I explain this is still harmony but often when you have 3 or more notes together in harmony it can be called a chord. I then add more harmony notes so all children have a bell. We then move around as a carousel so all children get a turn of playing in each chord. I sometimes get another child to play the Bethlehem, Bethlehem bit on a glockenspiel.
To do this activity you will need hand bells. They aren’t too expensive. I recommend you get 3 sets of diatonic bells and one set of chromatic. You will need an F sharp for this activity to sound right. I use bells quite a lot so I think it is a good investment if you don’t have them. Nonetheless they are not indestructible and every 3 to 5 years you may need to replace a few that are not working well.
The next lesson will repeat this activity but we also learn the tune and put the coconuts/woodblocks in for the donkey. I set the whole song as an optional homework.